X2 - The Threat. The next best thing to Elite 4. Possibly

In case there are any space sim fans who aren’t aware of this up and coming game here is a set of illustrated previews done by one of those involved with the design.

It’s due out around the end of September and should be the next best thing to Elite 4. I’m a fan of the whole series, having wrung hundreds of hours of economic empire building and general violence from the predecessors but am aware XBTF and XT weren’t to everyone’s taste.

The latest version adds a host of features such as a user programmable AI to control gun turrets and other ships in your fleet. Plus an alien invasion storyline to give you a reason to build an economic empire and then a battle-fleet.

It is produced by a small German company called Egosoft with a great deal of fan input from the discussion board. They are a bit like Derek Smart in that they are developers trying to realise a vision rather than developers knocking out a procession of quick money-makers so I have a soft spot for this series, particularly being an old Elite fan.

If you like elite style games check it out at:

http://actionvault.ign.com/features/den/

If anyone has any views on the series I’d be interested in hearing them.

Hopefully, this time they will get the release right and people outside Europe will be able to get their hands on it.

Thanks for your time

Steve

This is probably just me, but I always think that the problem with most Elite wanabees is that they insist on having a plot. The thing I enjoyed about the first two Elite games is that they were totally free form and let you do what you wanted, when you wanted. Life doesn’t have a plot after all. I know that some, such XBTF, allowed you to ignore the plot, but I’m weak and knowing that there is a plot I just have to follow it.

Elite 4 is almost vapourware these days and X2 is the next best thing. Still, it’s good to see some believers! X2 doesn’t have the complexity of Battlecruiser and it does seem to be more sophisticated then Freelancer, with the factories and big business. There doesn’t seem to be anything like this coming along for the space sim genre anyway, so it’s a good bet that it’s going to be big.

Was X-BTF released in the US? It does seem to me that X2 will be a product for the European market mostly.

I find EVE pretty much Elite in a new graphic package. No plot. MOG.

Would we really be happy without a plot these days? I don’t think so.
“Life doesn’t have a plot after all.” - this is true, but on the other hand have people, interaction and society, which works as a pretty good substitute.
I think the important part is making the game world feel like it’s alive.

I find EVE pretty much Elite in a new graphic package. No plot. MOG.

Eeeek. EVE is nothing like Elite - it’s a bloody RPG! It was only inspired by Elite, or rather Frontier, but the differences…

Well the Elite games did have ‘mini plots’ in the missions. I’d like to see an expansion of those, perhaps with the ability to get off the spacecraft occasionally, go in a bar to meet a smuggler who wants you to ship dogdy stuff to another system; that sort of thing. I’m not against having more RPG style elements such as old friends who tip you off to rumours and so forth. Of course you could be right and such a thing may not appeal to most gamers these days.

They screwed up with the distribution of XBTF and XT but this time X2 should have a world-wide release although I have no details.

X-BTF sold quite well in Europe, but tanked in the NA market, that’s why they didn’t even bother to release the expansion over there.

AFAIK they did not have a distributor in the USA so it was almost impossible to find. The XT expansion was handled badly in europe too (there is a reason THQ aren’t publishing X2!), coming out in a single jewel case at a barrgain price - and most shops just threw it in the cheapo rack.

X-gold (both in budget pack) fared slightly better but soon sold out of the limited number published. All in all it’s been a sorry tale of a good product ruined by the marketing and distribution.

Because it starts slowly (if you weren’t bright enough to figure you should sell your starting fighter and buy a freighter and a light fighter) it received some very unfair reviews from people who seemed to only play it for a couple of hours.

I liked the slow pace, liked having to navigate by eye until I upgraded my ship with trading extra’s, but can appreciate others might not.

X2 will come with advanced start positions for the less hardcore players, and a big “Win Game Now” button for the UK PC Gamer reviewers so they can get straight to slamming it without all that pointless gaming.

This is definitely one I’m looking forward to. I love the different gameplay options and hopefully the combat model is tweaked a little to make it more exciting. If so, X2 may be that rare combination of a fun, exciting, accessible, more engaging space sim than what fans have had the last few years (lets face it, I dig the Battlecruiser games, but there is a certain barrier to entry there).

Hopefully their US distribution doesn’t get backdoored like it did with the first games. Keep your eye out for this one, there should be a demo shortly before it comes out (slated for September). Worth checking out to see if it’s your type of game.